The extracts on this
page are from
"The Future Water
Supply of Birmingham"
by Thomas Barclay,
published in 1898.
The problem of avoiding drunken behaviour in Elan Village was
a particular worry to the authorities. They decided that prohibition
would not work, and sensibly decided upon operating their own
licensed canteen for the sale of alcoholic drinks, with very
firm controls on the amount which could be bought.
An official report noted that: "stringent regulations
have been enacted, which are not merely printed and hung on the
walls, but are actually enforced. While it cannot be said that
the attempt to regulate the drink traffic has created a Utopia,
it may be asserted that the evil results of drinking have been
reduced to a minimum."
The location of
the Elan Valley dams
is shown on the
The report also noted that:
"There are 120 to 150 women in the settlement, and none
of these are allowed to enter the ordinary bar, although they
can obtain in the jug department liquor for consumption off the
It seems that the Canteen was very popular with the 'steadier
portion' of the men, but the 'more rowdy element'
headed out of the village when possible to find a drinking establishment
with more relaxed regulations ! The nearby Elan Valley Hotel
was built at this time and was to profit from liquor sales to
workers on the waterworks scheme. A private footbridge was provided
as a shortcut over the river, much to the alarm of the authorities
who were trying to keep drinking under control amongst their
The profits from the Canteen were used to help the whole community
by contributing substantially to the costs of the hospital, school,
and other shared facilities.
There are 7 pages on Elan Village.
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